Seasons, a trusted resource for the caregiving journey, gave NexStride the nod as their best product to help seniors with Parkinson’s stay mobile.
Finding the right equipment to keep older adults with Parkinson’s disease mobile and safe is paramount to helping them live their best lives.
From the time of diagnosis, the average person lives with Parkinson’s – a neurodegenerative disease that affects motor and cognitive functioning – for about 15 to 16 years, according to Jennifer Prescott, RN, MSN, CDP, founder and COO of Blue Water Homecare & Hospice in Leander, Texas.
“It’s a long disease process,” she said. “We want people to thrive with it.”
In order to thrive, she believes they need to maintain as much independence as possible, because their mental health depends on it.
“Fifty percent of people with Parkinson’s have depression, and 40% have anxiety,” Prescott explained. “Giving people a sense of independence is important.”
That starts with the ability to do the little things most of us take for granted: safely walking to the bathroom, showering, dressing, and getting in and out of a car without risk of falling. Fortunately, a number of affordable products are on the market today that give people with Parkinson’s the ability to venture out and about, and live a full, independent life.
Remedies for “freezing of gait”
One of the most outward signs of Parkinson’s is freezing of gait, an inability to move your feet despite the intention to walk, Prescott said. When freezing occurs, there’s a disconnect between the brain and body caused by a damaged neural pathway. People with Parkinson’s describe it as feeling like their feet are glued to the floor. It can result in trembling, shuffling feet in place or an inability to move—all symptoms that increase the likelihood of falls. To overcome freezing of gait, Prescott (who’s not affiliated with any of the companies below) recommends the following devices:
A compact mobility device, NexStride attaches to a cane, walker or walking pole. The technology gives users visual and auditory cues to help them overcome freezing gait by re-establishing communication pathways between the brain and body. A green laser line flashes on the ground, signaling users to step forward, and a metronome sounds a rhythmic beat for them to step in time to. When Prescott asked Victor Becker, president of the Capital Area Parkison’s Society (and who also has Parkinson’s), for his favorite mobility device, he said, hands down, NexStride. He uses it on a daily basis attached to his cane. NexStride is free for veterans through the VA, and grants are also available through the Parkinson’s Wellness Fund.
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